What counts as bullying? Most definitions of bullying agree that it involves aggression both intentional and repetitive, occurring in situations where there is a power imbalance between individuals. This definition recognizes that bullying can take various forms, including physical, verbal and social. This definition also acknowledges that proximity can vary, from bullying in person to bullying online.
Regardless of definition, there is no question about the seriousness of childhood bullying, since bullying has led to children dying by suicide. Even if the consequences are not as dire, being victimized in childhood has been causally linked with subsequent mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and suicidality. As well, longitudinal studies have demonstrated continuing mental health challenges for victims of childhood bullying into middle age. As a result, there is a collective ethical imperative to understand and stop childhood bullying. For more information, see Vol. 15, No. 4 of the Children’s Mental Health Research Quarterly.